LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Four years of hard work paid off for Belmont women's cross country senior Hannah Wittman (Lindenhurst, Ill.) on Saturday at the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championship. She notched a finish in the top-85 at her first appearance at the national championship in Louisville, Ky.
Despite the advantage of having raced the course before at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park, the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Runner of the Year faced a new level of competition on Saturday, battling against some of the nation's best cross country teams and individual standouts.
The national 6K race began even quicker than the regional from the opening gun with so many elite runners vying for position early. Wittman fell in early with one of the lead groups and remained in the thick of the race over much of the course.
The Lindenhurst, Ill., native finished 84th overall with a time of 20:45.3 in the highly competitive field of more than 250 runners from all over the country.
Wittman becomes the first Belmont woman to make a national appearance since the 2007 season. She is also only the seventh woman from the Ohio Valley Conference to vie for the national title. Wittman earned her berth to the national championship with her program record setting time performance at the NCAA South Regional last weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala.